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Judge issues expected order dismissing redistricting challenge

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 15, 2011 - Critics of Missouri's redrawn congressional districts have filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, as a result of a lower-court judge's decision -- as expected -- to dismiss their suit seeking new boundaries.

St. Louis lawyer Gerry Greiman, who represents some of the revamped map's local Democratic opponents, said today that the appeal was filed earlier this week, after Judge Daniel R. Green followed through Monday with his order dismissing their case. Green had telegraphed that likely was his plan, after hearing preliminary arguments last week by the new map's backers and critics.

Green also dismissed a companion suit, filed by Republicans in Kansas City who also challenged the new boundaries. Greiman said that suit's lawyers are expected to file an appeal with the Supreme Court as well. The two suits were merged earlier this month.

Greiman said that plans call for asking the state's highest court to act swiftly, since candidate filing is slated to get underway in late February for those seeking office in 2012.

Opponents contend that the new map, among other things, unfairly penalizes the state's two largest urban areas -- St. Louis and Kansas City. The map was drawn by the Republican-dominated General Assembly last spring; legislators then overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's veto.

The new map also, in effect, does away with the area congressional district now represented by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis. Missouri is losing a congressional district as a result of the 2010 census, but some area political and civic leaders contend that the eliminated district should have been in rural Missouri, not in the St. Louis area.

A number of Democrats predict that Carnahan may challenge U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, if the state's Supreme Court declines to order a new map, and rules in favor of the new map.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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